Diamond praises polished Hodgson
Sale boss Steve Diamond was delighted with Charlie Hodgson's display in the win over Gloucester.
Last Updated: 08/04/11 11:04pm
Charlie Hodgson earned a warm tribute from his boss after reaching a notable milestone in orchestrating Sale's 36-31 bonus-point victory over Gloucester.
Hodgson, who will join Saracens at the end of the season after 11 years at Sale, went into the match having amassed 999 points at Edgeley Park.
He passed the 1,000 mark with a 21-point haul which included a superb try as Steve Diamond's men condemned the high-flying Cherry-and-Whites to only their third defeat of 2011.
Hodgson will be sorely missed next season and his latest outstanding contribution merely underlined that point as he took the armband in the absence of regular skipper Mark Cueto.
"Hodgson's a world-class player isn't he?" said Diamond, Sale's executive director of sport.
"He wanted to be captain, which was great, and it was a fantastic performance from him.
"He's bright, he sees things that other players don't and he will be sadly missed."
Hodgson, 30, made the decision to quit Sale and join Saracens before Diamond returned to the club to take up his current role earlier in the campaign.
"Charlie is a top lad and I've no hard feelings with him going," said Diamond.
"I wished he'd stay but he made the decision to go before I arrived and I wish him all the best.
"We will find a replacement for him and we will have a highly competitive squad next year, even without Charlie Hodgson."
The result all but ended Sale's fears of the drop, but Gloucester have now lost two away matches in succession and simply could not cope with the vibrancy and desire which characterised Sale's second-half display.
Diamond believes the result has effectively ended his side's relegation fears, leaving the fight for survival a two-way battle between northern foes Leeds and Newcastle, who meet on Saturday.
Diamond added: "We've got two more home games still to come and I think we'll be fine now."
Gloucester fashioned a late rally which harvested a score for Jonny May and a late penalty try which secured a losing bonus point, but Bryan Redpath could not hide his frustration at the result.
"Am I frustrated? Massively," said the Gloucester boss. "I thought we did some good things but I didn't think we were as smart and streetwise as we should have been away from home.
"I didn't think the referee helped us but on the whole we didn't defend particularly well and didn't manage the game well enough to win it."